Why you should never EVER take a banana on a boat

Happy RaysSailors and seafarers are superstitious folk. Its always been this way. Never leave port on a Friday, never harm an albatross, NO pasties on board, avoid redheaded people before a voyage (?!!!) and apparently women on board are bad luck (pah!)…and bananas. Don’t bring bananas onboard.

So last weekend, Sydney produced some absolutely sublime weather; sunny clear skies, 10-15 knots from the west. We’ve decided, despite having a long list of renovations for the boat, that we just need to use it whenever the weather is right for taking small children on board, to get them used to it so when it is finally set up for over-nighters we can feel confident to take them out of the heads and up or down the coast.

The picnic basket is the most important aspect of putting to sea with children. Unfortunately when I was throwing things in the eski, upmost in my mind was mess free appealing food that fills them up. So I chucked in some bananas and didn’t give it a second thought.

It was a cracker of a day. In fact probably one of the happiest and funnest and joyous days I’ve spent with my family….

So back to the bananas. Until we got back to the mooring it was all smooth sailing. I was down below playing I spy with the girls….and there was a gentle bump as the keel hit the mud…followed by about ten minutes (that felt like thirty) of Reg thrashing the outboard and swinging around on the rigging until we eventually slid off. It was the first time we’d put the boat back on the mooring at low tide and we were excruciatingly a couple of metres from the mooring buoy. So whilst its a great spot in terms of distance to row the tender to shore, we will have to approach the mooring from a specific angle at low tide. Or leave the bananas at home.

If you know any interesting or unusual seafaring superstitions, please share!

Endeavouring…

Reg has a got a new tiller. All shiny new and varnished. It was the first item up for renovation on the little red boat that we adopted late last year. It still bears the name Red Endeavour, a title we plan to change (suggestions welcome), although I’m beginning to think the current name is rather apt. It is proving very much to be an endeavour and progress has been a little slow. But that’s no surprise.

Reg tinkering

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The Christmas holidays were a mad rush to get her surveyed, registered, drop a mooring and get her seaworthy to sail round to Botany Bay where she has been bobbing up and down ever since. Sadly I couldn’t join Reg for the sail, which is why there are no photos of this momentous occasion. Her previous owners took a stroll along the Esplanade at Cronulla and waved the beloved little red boat goodbye from the cliff tops.

We’d love to keep her in Port Hacking but there’s a long wait list for moorings. Gwawley Bay is on Botany Bay and is a 15 minute drive from where we live. It’s also just a stone throw from Endeavour Marine who we’ll probably get to know a little better as we work through the list of jobs required to be done before she’s ready for a jaunt up or down the coast with a crew of under-fives.

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Despite this slow progress it’s been pleasing to see how getting kids on boats is not just about the actual act of sailing (although that’s the goal). There are so many opportunities for them to learn and explore before they’ve even left the wharf. Miss Four spent at least two afternoons accompanying Reg on a maintenance mission. Threading new halyards, learning about running a mouse line (a four year old girl actually really gets the concept; it’s like hickory dickory dock, except in a mast instead of a clock). The new tiller needed to be fitted and the more boring jobs like fitting a manual bilge pump were endured by sitting in the cockpit singing away, doing some colouring in whilst happily licking an ice cream.

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Before she left her old home we took her for a trip up South West arm and whilst we didn’t get any sails up that day, it was a good opportunity to assess the renovations list down below…

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..and test out the sea legs…

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Put people to work polishing the top sides…

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…thirsty work…

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Top of my list is a working galley, although this will have to wait until we have replaced the egg beaters with a diesel donk as I don’t like the idea of naked flame and petrol engines in the same vicinity. The galley will be closely followed by some new lockers so we can stow a few items permanently and keep things ship shape down below (a challenge with toddlers on board).

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So, we have a deadline to get her sorted by the summer. We have family coming to visit and after an anticipated hard year at work I am already dreaming about a couple of weeks on Pittwater or Jervis Bay, simply messing about on boats, come Christmas. Will keep you posted.

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PS – if there are any Endeavour 26 enthusiasts out there with ideas for optimum below decks design configurations give me a shout :)

We Didn’t Mean to Go to Sea

Last year we sold our beloved skiff and I wrote a heartfelt valedictory post about it here, where I celebrated the love of a boat that sadly had to go. In the meantime we’d sold our small house in south Sydney and headed for the leafy burbs of the ‘Shire, content with the tinny and the occasional race or delivery with old friends and connections whilst we focused on raising two girls and giving them a taste of the briny.

When we advertised the skiff online we got side tracked perusing the marine classifieds and day dreamed of the possibilities, a bit like some people do on domain.com on a Friday night accompanied by a chardy or two (actually that’s me as well). We pondered a few items in the four figure category, commenting on how lovely it would be to have something with a cabin to do overnighters on with the girls and take them outside of the heads.  Having just bought a house and not having yet sold our current one, not to mention the renovations required on the new one, we categorised a lead keel boat in the “several decades away” basket. In fact having done a few thousand miles on other people’s yachts, being a “proper” boat owner has never been top of the list.

But what would you say if someone offered you one. For free?.

Allow me to introduce you to the Red Endeavour.

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Generously donated by a family friend whose budget and ambitions have changed, this boat has been a  family fixture for about a quarter of a century. Mostly sailed on Port Hacking, and definitely pre-loved, its age a barrier to her owner’s urgency to reclaim the mooring for her replacement.

Our initial reaction to the offer was “yes, yes, yes” but there is actually more to taking on an old yacht than meets the eye. If I’m honest we both knew from the outset that we couldn’t say no. We did a bit of research on insurance, rego, moorings etc. and then went down for a lookie. Having noted the need for some TLC we uttered a predictable “yes”.

The pressing need to get her off her current moorings presented some unexpected challenges, which I will elaborate on in a future post. In the meantime she’s had her bottom scrubbed (well in need)…

Dirty Bottom

a once over from a marine surveyor (with recommendations)….

On the Slip

…..and a good gurney to blow away the guano (that’s a technical term for Sea bird poo in case you were wondering,) she was starting to look like a bit of a gift horse. I daren’t look her in the mouth.

I’m going to blog (now and then) about her ressurection which may be of interest if you’ve ever cruised the classified sections of “Afloat” magazine and don’t think its silly to adopt a bottomless money pit as your pet project (what house renovations?…)

calling all carpenters

table turned

Dunno about the dunny...

Need some money for new rope

Anchors Away!

Who has an overlocking industrial sewing machine?

..and who could resist the intoxicating and romantic aroma of two stroke…

The intoxicating and romantic aroma of two stroke

…from the egg beaters…

The egg beaters...

But….most importantly, when she’s scrubbed up and sea worthy I hope to bring you tales from the ocean waves with two under 5…

pondering the high seas

are you sure about this?rail fodder

hiking training

old anchor rope

…as well as the usual escape tales from the tinny, which I assure you will retain its rightful spot (in my eyes anyway) as the ultimate getaway vehicle from the stresses of modern life…

The tinny life

 What lengths have you gone to to avoid house renovations?! :)

 PS – If you’re interested in the captions that go with the photos, just hover your mouse over the image.

 

 

 

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